Monday, December 22, 2014

Christmas Fun

Some Last Day Before Christmas Break Fun

     The last day before Christmas break was a little relaxing, a little like a zoo, and a lot of fun. We Started our day finishing a Christmas Carol book. Every year I give the children a book full of songs, and include a Table of contents, index and glossary. The students will fill in all of the information and freely choose the words that go in the glossary and the index from the songs in the book. Then we went to a Christmas Extravaganza where we watched dancing, singing, jump roping and teachers leading this variety of performers. It is a great show. Then on to specials (music, art and PE). Afterwards we followed along in our books to a Christmas CD that matches. Every year I give the students a cd that matches their book. then we all had pizza lunch in the room and watched a 
Christmas movie. After that we began reading plays. Their homework the last week before Christmas was to read their parts nightly and we would make videos they could share with their families over Christmas break. We did not have time to make props or costumes (which I would usually make out of paper) and many children were absent, so we were very relaxed in our performances. All of the students say they enjoy doing plays, some of them love it. I call it a reading fluency activity. We share our fun:

Christmas Story Time with Hagan's Heroes

Thursday, December 11, 2014

High School Helpers

Does anyone else have high school helpers?

In our county the high school has a program that allows and encourages (maybe even requires),
that high school students come and help elementary teachers. I was fortunate enough to have two helpers this semester. Both girls helped me make Jeopardy games using power points, make videos, paper slide videos, and Telegami videos. I must admit I did not really understand how to play or make Jeopardy games. One of my helpers came during our specials time and we sat down together and she helped me understand how the game was played and how to enter the various content that I needed to enter. One of the students helped me make videos and upload them to You tube. She also helped me turn videos upside right when they came out sideways. I have NO idea how that happened!
They cut out scoots and task cards before and after laminating and packaged them for use. they also added to the general pleasantness in our room. they spoke with children and helped them finish assignments and even get along with one another.
My students loved having them come and even if they were just in the room, the students were happy they were here with us.
I loved having them and I am very grateful for all that they did for me and my students.
Today was their last day for this semester. Next semester I may or may not be fortunate enough to have helpers. But, I think we gave them a great send off. We made them each a Epsom Salt Luminary and this video starring my magnificent students.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Reading Extravaganza

A Reading Extravaganza

What is a Reading Extravaganza?

         The first ingredient is a group of second graders. OK, any grade can have a Reading Extravaganza. It takes a group of students, pajamas, blankets, some stuffed animals and in our case, some guest readers. 
     My guest readers were some of the finest teachers to ever walk the halls of  my school. They are retired now and were generous enough to come and allow us to enjoy their reading. Each  one said "anytime" when they were thanked. I hope they really meant it because they will be invited back!
        It was a day of reading. Our first guest reader read Santa Cows , and The Grinch That Stole Christmas. Afterwards, we did a Grinchy craft. We used a green, red and a small piece of yellow construction paper, glue, and a few cotton balls. First we folded the green construction paper in half and tore the shape of a half heart on the unfolded side. Then we tore a triangle out of the red piece. Next, we turned the green heart upside down and put the triangle on top to make it look like a hat and glued the two pieces together. We then lined the hat with cotton and gave it a cotton ball tip. We tore the yellow to make eyes and glued them under the hat. We added pupils and eyelashes and a smile. We had some of the best looking Grinches in the history of Grinchness.

     Then our next guest reader read two Jan Brett books, The Gingerbread Baby and Gingerbread Friends. Afterwards we did a beginning middle and end activity and the students were able to choose the story they wanted to retell. I love activities that allow the students to create and free draw.

     We had another guest read The Gingerbread Girl and There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell. Our time ran straight into our final guest reader that read Jan Brett's Home For Christmas. 

     After that we spent some time reading silently and independently.

      In my book it was the best day ever! My students did remarkably well with all of the guests we had and our grade level is considering starting a trend. A Reading Extravaganza for every holiday and even Dr. Suess' birthday. I even had a chance to have the students start making their parent's Christmas presents. I encourage everyone to have a Reading Extravaganza!